12 Nov 2004

PNG telecommunications workers union threatens strike over planned phone company sale

4:35 pm on 12 November 2004

Papua New Guinea's telecommunications workers Union has threatened strike action if the government's proposed 51 percent sale of Telikom PNG goes ahead without its consent.

The union president Bob Magaru says concerns they have raised over the proposed sale to African-based company Econet have still not been fully addressed by the Independent Public Business Corporation, which is driving the proposal.

The government is due to decide whether to go ahead with the sale but reports this week that five Econet directors have been arrested for alleged business crimes in Zimbabwe have again delayed the sale process.

Mr Magaru says the union is frustrated that the sale will go ahead without formal assurance for their concerns, particularly over possible redundancies...

"If we are forced down that lane we are left with no option because IPBC doesn't want to listen to us, IPBC doesn't want to formally sign some agreements to secure our concerns, then we are left with no option. We've also mobilised the landowners who have Telikom installations on their land, and whatever action we take, they've assured us that they'll stand by us."

Bob Magaru of the PNG telecommunications workers Union.